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About Australia

Climate:
Australia is a large island continent in the southern hemisphere with a diverse range of climate zones. These vary from tropical regions in the north through the arid expanses of the interior to temperate regions in the south.

Seasonal fluctuations can be great with temperatures ranging from above 50 ° Celsius to well below zero. Minimum temperatures are moderated by the lack of mountains and the influence of surrounding oceans.

Credit Cards:
An Australian credit card offers a convenient way to shop and pay bills, both face to face and online.

You can select from a low rate card with no annual fees, through to selected cards offering a full range of benefits, including complimentary overseas travel insurance (in accordance with the policy) and reward point programs. All applications for credit are subject to our normal lending criteria.

Currency:
Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes made from plastic (polymer). These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting. They also last four times as long as conventional paper (fibrous) notes.

The innovative technology with which Australian bank notes are produced - developed entirely in Australia - offers artists brilliant scope for the creation of images that reflect the history and natural environment of Australia. At the same time, the polymer notes are cleaner than paper notes and easily recyclable. Australia’s currency comprises coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations; and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar denominations.

Customs:
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service page with information on documents required for customs clearance , information for sea travellers and Items you must declare on arrival (including cash/currency) for arriving travellers

The Import/Export section of the Customs website is currently being upgraded. Some of the documents that were previously available on the site have been removed. These documents will be updated or replaced to reflect Customs procedures and policies.

Driving:
If you’re a visitor and hold a valid driver’s licence (in English) from your own country, fine, you’re allowed to drive throughout all of Australia. (But an international driver's licence, if you have one, does not by itself give you the right to drive in Australia.)

If your driver's licence is not in English, a translation may be necessary and you may also need to have an international driver's licence.

If you come from a country where motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road, there’s not much more to know, and you should easily adjust to driving in Australia by following local driving customs and laws.

Duty Free Procedures:
Shopping duty free can be a great way to save a couple of bucks. Duty free means items are without government tariffs, taxes and levies that are normally charged. Popular duty free items include alcohol, cigarettes, fragrances and technological products. Non-travelers cannot buy these items, and you usually cannot buy them less than 30 days before you leave a country. In many cases, the items must remain sealed until you leave the country, and displayed for inspection at the airport. Duty free fragrances and spirits are generally 40%-60% larger than domestic sizes. The Downtown Duty Free chain, which can be found in all large Australian cities and at all international airports.

Economy:
The economy of Australia is a developed, modern market economy with a GDP of approximately $1 trillion USD. In 2009, it was the 13th largest national economy by nominal GDP and the 18th largest measured by PPP adjusted GDP, representing about 1.7% of the World economy. Australia was also ranked the 21st largest importer and 23rd largest exporter.

Australia is a member of the APEC, G20, OECD and WTO organisations. Australia has also entered into free trade agreements with ASEAN, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. The ANZCERTA agreement with New Zealand has greatly increased integration with the New Zealand economy.

The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, representing 68% of Australian GDP. The agricultural and mining sectors (10% of GDP combined) account for 57% of the nation's exports.

The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia and its territories, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island. It is also the official currency of the independent Pacific Island nations of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.The Australian Securities Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Australia.

Electricity:
240 volts

Emergency:
The national telephone number for all emergency services in Australia including AMBULANCE, FIRE, and POLICE is "000".

Geography:
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Australia is an island, surrounded by water. It is located on the smallest continent in the world.
Population: 17.5 million

Geographic size: 2.97 million square miles

Capital: Canberra

Major cities and population: Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

Government:
The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 as a result of an agreement among six self-governing British colonies, which became the six states. The terms of this agreement are embodied in the Australian Constitution, which was drawn up at a Constitutional Convention and ratified by the people of the colonies at referenda. The structure of the Australian Government may be examined in light of two distinct concepts, namely federalism and the separation of powers into legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government. Separation of powers is implied from the structure of the Constitution which breaks down the branches of government into separate chapters.

Health:
This document sets out major structural reforms to establish the financing and governance foundations of a National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future. The Government expects that these reforms will permanently establish the Commonwealth Government as the majority funder of hospitals and place the Australian health system onto a sustainable and self-improving footing for the future.

Language:
English is the primary language used in Australia. Yet their colourful vocabulary, accent, phonetics system and slang ('Strine') can take a lot of getting used to. In 1788, there were about 250 separate Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia, plus dialects. Today, only two thirds of these languages survive and only 20 of them (eight per cent of the original 250) are still strong enough to have chance of surviving well into the next century. In addition to these there are also the languages of immigrants from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Medical services:
Emergency medical services in Australia are provided by state ambulance services, which are a division of each state or territorial government, and by St John Ambulance in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Newspapers:
The Canberra Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Northern Territory News, Brisbane Courier Mail, The Adelaide Advertiser.

Nudism:
In the hectic swirl of modern day living sometimes you just need to escape for a while. But all too often, when you do find time for a break, you simply exchange your daily rat race for a holiday package that is almost as frantic. There are alternatives you know, and a nude getaway may be just what you and your partner are looking for. In fact once you have experienced social nudism you may very well want to make it your main recreational pastime. Many clubs and resorts have grounds where you can set up your own cabin or caravan, giving you a permanent weekender where you can relax with your partner or family, and all your new found friends.

Population:
It is the land of immigrants and as far as data is considered as on July 2006 it was estimated 20,264,082 .

Population literacy rate:
99.0%

Precautions:
Melbourne, like most parts of Australia, presents few health risks for foreign visitors. Tap water is good, restaurants and eating places are required by law to maintain a high standard of Accommodation preparation, and the city is generally clean. Smog is less of a problem than with cities such as London, Hong Kong and Bangkok, but is still quite high.

Public holidays:
There are 23 public holidays every year. 11 of them are fixed holidays.

Security:
Australia’s approach to national security is based on strong cooperative, coordinated and consultative relationships between the State and Territory Governments, the Australian Government, their departments and agencies and international partners.

At any given time Australia faces challenges to our nation’s security from a range of sources which can put institutions of state, people, economic assets and technology at risk. These challenges include espionage, foreign interference, terrorism, politically motivated violence, border violations, cyber attack, organised crime, natural disasters and biosecurity events.

Tipping:
Tipping is not compulsory.

Time & Telecommunications:
Telecommunications in Australia deals with telecommunications in Australia, involving the availability and use of electronic devices and services, such as the telephone, television, radio or computer, for the purpose of communication.

Telecommunications is an important aspect of the Australian economy. The sector is currently dominated by the telecommunications provider, Telstra. Other telecommunications providers include Optus (owned by Singapore Telecommunications), AAPT and Powertel (both owned by Telecom New Zealand), Soul (SP Telemedia), Vodafone and Hutchison 3G (3 Mobile). The sector is in a state of rapid growth and technological development, and subject to frequent changes of participants in the sector.

TV channels:
Satellite TV and local tv & radio are available in most of the hotels.

VAT:
A value added tax of 10% is payable on goods and services including hotel and restaurant bills.

Visa & Entry Requirements:
National Visas is Australia’s leading provider of visa and immigration advice and is regulated by the Australian Government and that’s why thousands have used National Visas to receive their visa to Australia in the last year alone. By using National Visas you receive the very best advice and support for your visa application and have the services of Australia’s most experienced visa and immigration experts at your disposal. Try us today and see for yourself why National Visas assists so many people with a visa to Australia.

What to Wear:
As far as dressing for Australia is concerned, casual wear is generally the go.If you wanted to, you could go to the opera in jeans, and no one would give you a second look, although this is one of the few activities for which some people like to dress up.Unless it’s a really formal occasion, one has no need for a tuxedo or a formal long gown; a jacket and tie are not de rigueur for other occasions but the rule of thumb is usually whether one is comfortable with one’s choice of clothing for a particular occasion.

Working Hours:
The average Australian working week is currently 36 hours from Monday to Friday however this does vary considerably across occupations and industries. A standard working day for a trade occupation is typically 7am to 3.30pm, while working hours in most offices are 9am to 5pm, with rest and meal breaks. Overtime rates of pay and flexi-time arrangements in the workplace are becoming more common and are often negotiated in an occupation's award.

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